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The RIANP and Licensure of Naturopathic Doctors in Rhode Island

by Marcy Feibelman

The Rhode Island Association of Naturopathic Physicians (RIANP) is the professional association for naturopathic doctors in Rhode Island. The goals of the RIANP include raising awareness about naturopathic medicine throughout Rhode Island and increasing patient access to naturopathic doctors in Rhode Island. The association welcomes members from the general public and other medical professionals to join.

Since its founding over 16 years ago, the RIANP has been working to establish naturopathic doctors as a distinct medical and health entity recognized by the Rhode Island Department of Health. For more than eight years, it has been working at the legislative level to pass a licensure bill that will ensure individuals that practice naturopathic medicine in Rhode Island have met the minimum standards to provide safe and effective care, similar to the way medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy prove minimum competency.

A licensure bill will do this, and also enables naturopathic doctors in Rhode Island to practice as trained—to give pertinent physical examines, to order appropriate laboratory and imaging testing, and to diagnose patients. Additionally, when naturopathic doctors are licensed in Rhode Island, insurance companies will be able to cover the care to see a naturopathic doctor. Currently, patients pay out of pocket for these office visits. This out of pocket cost makes naturopathic medicine inaccessible to many Rhode Islanders.

In 2017, the RIANP will be submitting a licensure bill again and working at the State House to increase both understanding of and support for naturopathic doctors. The association has hired a lobbyist to help them navigate the legislative process and successfully pass the licensure bill. The RIANP continues to organize various fundraisers to support this mission. It needs volunteers and vocal and financial support to achieve its legislative goal. Please consider a donation via the website RIANP.org and help make naturopathic medicine accessible to all Rhode Islanders.

The RIANP’s mission is that all Rhode Islanders have the option and opportunity to work with a naturopathic doctor, with the knowledge that this doctor has graduated from an accredited four-year post-baccalaureate naturopathic medical school program and passed the naturopathic medical board exams. A bill that licenses naturopathic doctors in the state of Rhode Island is the way to accomplish this. Together, these goals can be accomplished.

For more information, to sign up for a free, monthly health newsletter and to learn about how to support the efforts, like on Facebook at Rhode Island Association of Naturopathic Physicians and visit RIANP.org. See ad, page ??.

Marcy Feibelman is a naturopathic doctor at Leaves of Change Natural Medicine. She is also president of the RIANP. Contact at 508-343-0580 or LeavesOfChangeMedicine.com. See ad, page ??.